A gay asylum seeker was given a second chance at freedom after a pilot refused to fly him back to Nepal.
Jagat, a student, believes his life was ‘saved’ by the Jet Airways pilot who made the last chance decision.
This is a another story from the Rainbow Rush scandal.
Gay asylum seeker saved from deportation at the last minute
Without warning, Jagat was informed by detention centre officials he was going to be deported yesterday afternoon (5 August).
Forced into a van and taken to London Heathrow airport, four officials marched him onto a plane.
The plane was set to take off to Mumbai from Terminal 4 at 5.05pm.
‘I had to shout and cry in the plane,’ he said.
Jagat said he had the right to reapply for asylum in the UK, and kept crying and shouting.
He fears being killed on his arrival in Nepal. Gay Star News has seen text messages, sent from family members, promising he will be ‘cut into pieces’ if he returns.
The delay took an hour, and the flight took off at 5.54pm – without Jagat.
Pilot saves asylum seeker’s life with last minute decision
Airlines are legally obliged under UK law to assist in deporting people.
However, pilots have the sole right to refuse to board anyone.
It is unknown whether the pilot was thinking of other passengers’ security or may have had sympathy for Jagat’s plight.
Regardless, Jagat says the pilot ‘saved his life’.
A Jet Airways spokesperson told GSN they are declining to comment on this.
The asylum seeker was brought back to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.
‘I got very bad bruises all over my hands. It might happen again…soon,’ he said.
‘I’m still shaking and really traumatized by what just happened. Never felt this depressed and suicidal.’
Jagat came to the UK fleeing persecution from Nepal. While homosexuality is not illegal there, it is taboo.
Home Office officials said to him they didn’t believe he was gay. On other occasions, he was told he could ‘start his life’ over in Kathmandu if he kept his sexuality ‘quiet’.
Asylum seeker told he will be ‘cut into pieces’ or ‘buried alive’ if he returns to Nepal
The asylum seeker was outed as gay in a Nepali national newspaper.
Since then, he has received threatening text messages on a weekly basis.
‘I will cut you into pieces if you ever come back to Nepal again,’ his mother told him.
‘Despite living in poverty here, we sent you there to study but you have started loving a man instead? Have you lost your mind?
‘Shame on you, I wish that I had died before hearing this.
Jagat told the British judge: ‘I am worried about my life. I don’t know how long I can survive there especially knowing the fact there are many people against because I am gay.
‘There are people who want to cut me into pieces or bury me alive because they think I went against their belief and tradition.
‘Going back is not an option at all.’
Rainbow Rush scandal: ‘We feel powerless’
A British man, who we’ll call William, is advocating for Jagat. He is married to a Nepali man. He is also terrified his husband will be deported.
William told Gay Star News he fears they could be in the ‘same position’.
‘We feel powerless,’ he said. ‘The [government] seem to be able to get away with whatever they want.’
Gay Star News, among many activist groups, sent an letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid. We believe the asylum system is flawed and is sending many LGBTI asylum seekers to their deaths. This was ignored.
The Rainbow Rush scandal has seen ignorance and ineptitude of many UK officials exposed.
Many asylum seekers have said they felt their cases have been mishandled.
Genuine applicants have been turned down, deported, and are forced to go back to a country where they could be jailed, tortured or killed.
‘Why aren’t we having the Rainbow Rush scandal in the newspapers or in the BBC?’ William said.
‘Homophobia still exists.’
The Home Office has however claimed its decisions are not prejudiced.